Learning to swim is something everyone should do – although it’s not nearly as easy as it looks. Children are often terrified of water – They know what they want to do and what they don’t and the most effective way they can do this is by causing a big fuss if they don’t want to do something! The swimming pool is a totally foreign environment – they’re weightless, it’s noisy and feels pretty darn weird underwater,they lose contact with the ground and are continually being forced to do things they don’t want to do by you – their parent! The answer is to get the child familiarised with water from a very early age so that they don’t feel nervous or out of control. A confident child will learn to swim much faster than a nervous child.
So how do you get a very young child (less than a year old) to be more confidant in the water? Babies, or toddlers under a year old have a reflex action that you can use to help them feel more comfortable underwater. By breathing gently on their face they will take a small breath in. These are the steps to put this to use:
- Hold you child in on arm with them facing you.
- Count down from 3 out loud and then gently blow on their face
- You should see them inhale (, make sure they do.)
- Submerge them very briefly just up to the top of their nose.
- Because they have inhaled they will blow some bubbles out. Bring them straight back out again. They may look quite startled at this point but should not be choking or swallowing any water.
Over time and repetition you can increase the depth to which you are submerging them.. This will really help them get used to water so when they start swimming lessons they will have a much easier time of it.